Although far from the flashiest team in the Premier League, Roy Hodgson has had Crystal Palace working like a machine these past few years and has made them into one of the most organized sides across Europe. The systematic way that they play is actually quite simple and although taxing and demanding of the players, it is not overly elaborate. Instead of tactical geniuses and midfield maestros, every single player is an absolute workhorse and understands the role that they play in the team to a tee. This has led to Crystal Palace's success under Roy Hodgson and now in 2020-21, they've won their first two opening Premier League games for the first time in their history. We'd be silly to get carried away and think that they are destined for European football this season, but the Eagles are certainly worth examining for their unique approach to life in the Premier League. Here is a Tactical Analysis all about Roy Hodgson's resilient Crystal Palace.
Frank Lampard enjoyed a successful first season with Chelsea F.C., despite no new summer signings coming through the door. The Blues hovered around 4th for the majority of the season in behind Leicester City, and eventually secured 4th behind Manchester United. Lampard relied heavily on young talent in 2019-20 and the club were rewarded with fantastic performances from the likes of Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori and Reece James. However, although all of those players have potential, they might not be at the level of Premier League champions just yet. Lampard and those above his authority recognized that and responded with several new signings of the highest quality. In fact, very few other clubs have (on paper) done better summer transfer window business...ever. Despite the promise all their new signings have, it remains to be seen how they will all come together and whether or not it's worth it to bench some of the young players that secured their Champions League finish last year, for a heap of new players that have never played together before. So with that, here is a Tactical Analysis of Frank Lampard's Chelsea heading into the 2020-21 season.
In his first season at the club, Hans-Dieter Flick has seamlessly achieved success with Bayern Munich in stunning fashion, reaching the Champions League final for the club's first time since Jupp Heynckes was at the helm in 2012-13. The former Bayern player achieved widescale success as Germany's assistant coach, even winning the World Cup as Joachim Low's assistant in 2014. With all his experience at international management, Flick has now taken his former side to new heights, creating the most exciting Bayern Munich team since the days of Ribery and Robben. In the 2019-20 Bundesliga season, Bayern won 26 of their 34 games, scored 100 goals in the process and won the league by 13 points over arch-rivals Borussia Dortmund. In the Champions League, they've fared arguably even better, winning all 10 of their games and scoring 42 goals in the process. That's right, they've averaged over 4 goals per game in the toughest competition in club football this season. So, as we prepare for Sunday's 2019-20 UEFA Champions League Final, here is a Tactical Analysis of Hans-Dieter 'Hansi' Flick's Bayern Munich.
For the first time ever, Paris-Saint-Germain have reached the final of the UEFA Champions League. Beating out Borussia Dortmund in the Round of 16 paved the way for PSG to play Atalanta and surprise semi-finalists RB Leipzig upon a return to the competition in August, where they now await German giants Bayern Munich in the final on Sunday. Under the fantastic management of Thomas Tuchel, PSG have been extraordinarily good. Some might argue that their path to the final was a tad easier than previous finalists of the competition, but it would be hard to argue PSG to be undeserving of their place in the final with such a star-studded lineup. The Ligue 1 champions have scored 25 goals in Champions League play thus far, conceding just 5 in the process. Here is a Tactical Analysis of Thomas Tuchel's PSG as we head toward the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League Final.
The 2019-20 Premier League season was Arsenal's worst in twenty-five years. Not since 1995 had the Gunners finished below 8th place in the table and even under the leadership of Mikel Arteta, their form was inconsistent at best. Despite Arteta's tactical nuisances and potential to be a world class manager, Arsenal fans may be feeling skeptical going into the 2020-2021 season knowing that things have gotten worse, rather than better, since Arsene Wenger left the club. Even their FA Cup final victory over Chelsea did little to lift the fans' spirit and their lack of Premier League success has had an impact on their ability to attract top quality players in this summer's transfer window thus far. With all that said, Arsenal are still an incredibly interesting outfit and Mikel Arteta will undoubtedly prove to be a tactician worth examining throughout 2020-2021. To kick off our new Transfer Market Analysis Series, we discuss who Mikel Arteta may look to bring in to strengthen his team and achieve greater success in 2020-21.
Leeds United have waited 16 years to be back in the Premier League, and under Marcelo Bielsa that dream has now finally turned into reality for the 2020/2021 season. The Argentinean manager has long been hailed as one of the best in the world, not just by fans and players, but by other managers like Pep Guardiola, Diego Simeone and Mauricio Pochettino. It's easy to see why, as in just two years he has turned Leeds United into one of the very best teams in the Championship and has had the club hovering inside the top two for almost the entirety of both seasons. After a poor run of form at the end of the 2018-19 campaign resulting in Leeds missing out on automatic promotion to Sheffield United, Marcelo Bielsa has just continued to work his magic to the point where they secured automatic promotion this season with two games to spare. Here is a Tactical Analysis of Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds United and the extraordinary exploits his team have pulled off in the 2019-20 EFL Championship season.
Julian Nagelsmann never made it as a player, thanks in large part to knee injuries that forced him to retire before his career even got started. However, that change of path allowed the German manager to take up coaching at a young age and after briefly working under Thomas Tuchel at Augsburg, Nagelsmann worked his way through the ranks at 1899 Hoffenheim, leading them into the UEFA Champions League for the first time in their history. After three incredibly successful years with Hoffenheim, Nagelsmann departed the club in 2019 for RasenBallsport Leipzig. Due to his fantastic success with a club that is now firmly one of Germany's elite clubs, Nagelsmann is now one of the most sought after and respected coaches in the world, at 32 years of age. This is a Tactical Analysis of Julian Nagelsmann's revelations with RB Leipzig, as he looks destined to become the next big thing in football management.
Few clubs over the past decade have developed as succinct of a style of play as Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid. The 4-4-2 and 4-4-1-1 formations have practically become synonymous with Simeone's side, as he's taken Atletico to two Champions League finals and one La Liga title. Although 2019-20 hasn't been the best of seasons for Los Rojiblancos, they've continued their usual defensive prowess, conceding the second least amount of goals this season in La Liga and beating Liverpool in both Champions League Group Stage encounters. Here is a Tactical Analysis of Diego Simeone's 4-4-2 system and hard-working Atletico Madrid team.
For whatever reason, at the start of the season, Burnley are often a seen as a favourite for relegation. Despite that, and despite their cast and crew (manager included) not being the most star-studded, they've continuously steered clear of relegation from the Premier League since their promotion in 2016. Since said promotion, Burnley have finished as high as 7th place in the table and even enjoyed a brief spell in the Europa League, despite never playing the most flashy brand of football. Sean Dyche and his team play a gritty, unconventional brand of football, and their resilient 4-4-2 low-block has troubled even the very best of teams and managers. Perhaps more impressively in the current time, Burnley have now gone 7 games unbeaten in the Premier League, allowing Sean Dyche to claim his second ever Manager of the Month Award in February 2020. Here is a Tactical Analysis of Sean Dyche's 4-4-2 system and compact style of play with Burnley F.C.
The slightly less famous Inzaghi brother, Simone Inzaghi, is quickly becoming a notorious figure in Serie A, leading Lazio's charge toward the 2019-20 Serie A title. In his four seasons in charge of Lazio, Inzaghi has had an impressive win record of 55%. This season, the former Lazio player has reached unbelievable feats, leading Lazio to second place in the table, a single point behind Juventus. In fact, Inzaghi's team have not lost a Serie A match in 21 games. With the help of the top scorer in Europe's top 5 leagues, Ciro Immobile (27 goals), S.S. Lazio also have the best goal differential in the league (+37), having scored 60 goals and conceded just 23. Their statistics are impressive, but so too is there incredible use of the 3-5-2 formation and variety of methods for creating chances. Here is a Tactical Analysis of Simone Inzaghi's Lazio.
After two successful years with Red Bull Salzburg, German coach Marco Rose made a return to his home country to take on the role as Borussia Monchgengladbach manager for the start of the 2019-20 season. Rose has continued his success with Gladbach so far since taking charge and has only enhanced his reputation as a manager, with 54% of his matches won and his team well within the title race for the first time in years. Under Dieter Hecking, Gladbach had a win percentage of 43%, and played primarily in a 4-4-2 Diamond or 4-3-1-2 shape. Rose has since changed Gladbach's formation to primarily a 4-2-3-1, although has remained tactically flexible to at times deploy back-three formations and the 4-4-2 Diamond / 4-3-1-2 that he deployed at Salzburg. Here is a tactical analysis of Borussia Monchengladbach under Marco Rose.
The suspension of all football activity has been a unfortunate for Borussia Dortmund as they were on a stunning run of form in the Bundesliga before the break. Favre's newly introduced 3-4-2-1 has changed the way Dortmund play for the better, while simultaneously providing more defensive support, the area of the field in which they needed reassurances the most. The formation has given the likes of Achraf Hakimi and Raphael Guerreiro the freedom to go on and create more magic and has also given Jadon Sancho and Thorgan Hazard a necessary boost at a crucial time in the season. This formation suits the players and personnel that Lucien Favre has at his disposal tremendously well and it will be very interesting to see if they can continue to play to such great heights when the season comes to a conclusion. Check out or Tactical Analysis of Lucien Favre's stellar 3-4-2-1 formation with BVB.